Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Coach, Players Weigh in on Expanded Cfp

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Coach, Players Weigh in on Expanded Cfp

Article excerpt

EL PASO, Texas - In an alternate universe, and for many the preferred universe, Pitt's ACC championship berth earlier this month also would've put the Panthers one step away from reaching the College Football Playoff to contend for a national title.

As No. 1-ranked Alabama and No. 2 Clemson head back to the national championship to play each other for the third time in four years, the discussion continues about whether college football's postseason remains broken. For the most part, the same programs make the four-team field each year, while a few others inevitably gripe about being left out. Public opinion keeps gravitating toward an expanded playoff system, one that would feature six, eight or perhaps even 16 teams, bringing the highest level of the sport closer to the Football Championship Subdivision's 32-team field, or even college basketball's March Madness.

A few Pitt players gave their thoughts Saturday after practice on their sport's method for deciding a champion, as they prepare to meet Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

"I think the expansion would be good. It'll be good to give more teams opportunities, because I definitely feel like more than just four can win the national championship," junior safety Damar Hamlin said. "I feel like four keeps it exclusive."

Hamlin's thesis statement might not hold up all that well after seeing Clemson and Alabama throttle Notre Dame and Oklahoma later Saturday. But to his point, Georgia fans can argue their team would've been better equipped to win either of those matchups. Ohio State could say the same. And then there's Central Florida, unbeaten for the second consecutive season, and still kept out of the big dance.

Senior safety Dennis Briggs is about to wrap up his football career, but if it were up to him, he's with Hamlin.

"I don't see why not," Briggs said of adding to the playoff. "It'd be interesting, because even in the NFL, there are favorites going in, and something crazy always happens. …

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